Changes to the EU's forthcoming Treaty, pushed through by French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the Summit, will not have significant implications for the EU's free-market policy according to Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who sought to allay fears of increased protectionism in Europe.

Fears were expressed among free-market supporters in the UK that the Treaty change would support French companies, such as state-owned goliaths EDF and GDF, in the face of Directives aiming to promote competition and free choice. 

The UK's outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair came under strong pressure by opposition Conservatives to secure separate wording to counter the possible effect of removing "undistorted competition" from the principles at the beginning of the Treaty.

Blair and German EU Presidency officials argued that the legal basis for free competition remains, as it is mentioned 13 times in EU Treaties.